Industry Trends | Read Time: 4 Minutes

Innovating for the Future

April 22, 2021

By: Taylor Rhodes

Innovation. It’s a big word that’s being thrown around a lot lately – but what does it really mean? At Applied, we define innovation as the combination of technology and services that create choice and flexibility, intelligence and insights, and simplicity and ease of doing business for our customers.

Why Innovate Now

For decades, the insurance industry has historically been riddled with paper-driven, manual processes, often creating inefficient workflows and poor customer experiences. And then, almost overnight, the pandemic changed everything. For many agencies and carriers, the pandemic amplified inefficiencies in their existing business, forcing them to take a hard look at their processes and the technologies that underlie them. In fact, the adoption of new technology, driven by remote working, grew at a tremendous rate – with years of digital catch-up happening in mere months.

Demand for intelligent insights has fueled a new data obsession as agencies and carriers look for ways to be more competitive. Additionally, customer expectations have changed – with big tech players like Amazon, Uber and Facebook shaping expectations for simple, digital experiences. To stay relevant, agencies and carriers must offer the digital experiences its customers are accustomed to, or else risk losing that business to another that has invested to create simpler, more convenient experiences.

In this rapidly changing environment, the insurance ecosystem must embrace technology like never before to become more productive, intelligent, simple and valuable. At Applied, we empower agents and carriers to break out of their broken processes and poor customer experiences to create simple, online interactions. We are unleashing access to data in new ways so that agencies and carriers can consume powerful insights that help them be more competitive and more valuable to their customers.

Our goal – our rally cry – our driving purpose: to become the INDISPENSABLE technology partner to our customers.

And innovation doesn’t stop with technology and products. This year, not only are we transforming our product portfolio to provide choice and flexibility, intelligence, and simplicity. We are also bringing the lens of innovation to how we sell, service and support, and partner with our customers to put their needs first. As we like to say, when our customers win, we win.

  • Choice and flexibility icon

    Choice and Flexibility to Innovate

    Today’s brokerages and agencies want the freedom to choose the tech stack that best enables their business strategy. They want technology that will scale as they grow, that is agile and provides the flexibility to integrate other applications quickly and easily. At Applied, we are opening up our architecture. Gone are the days of the monolithic, closed system. In its place are more modern microservices with open APIs that create greater flexibility and accessibility and allow for quicker and simpler integration of other technologies such as mobile, analytics and insurer connectivity.

  • Intelligence icon


    Brokers and agents are demanding deeper insights into their businesses so they can make data-informed decisions. The days of data being trapped in the system and unusable are gone. Today’s insurance brokerages and agencies want simpler access to a more comprehensive set of data to enable analytical insights in just a few clicks. At Applied, we are opening up to make data access easy. Our new datalake provides improved performance and scalability while removing the hardware and infrastructure burden. Open architecture means brokers and agents can choose the type of business intelligence solution they want to use to visualize data into actionable intelligence. Not only that, brokers and agents can bring their own data to the lake to create a single source of data to get insights in less than a second.

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    Simplicity and Ease of Doing Business

    We are transforming Applied Epic to provide our customers greater productivity, simplicity, intelligence, and value. New browser-native Applied Epic speeds up access and reduces software management overhead. Browser-native Applied Epic will allow our customers to navigate their system more easily through an improved user experience that simplifies workflows, improving staff efficiencies and making onboarding of new employees easier than ever. It’s the digital experience that today’s insurance professionals demand.

  • Open for business icon

    Open for Business

    At Applied, being “open” also includes evolving our philosophy as a company. We are committed to creating a more vibrant and valuable digital ecosystem of insurance for the whole industry. That means that we are open to developing solutions with partners and not trying to build everything ourselves, and to solving customers’ problems together with partners, to create the best outcome. We are also opening up our own internal culture to bring more diversity to our great industry.

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    Digital Connectivity

    We believe that digital connectivity – from insureds to agents to carriers and back – is the lifeblood of innovation in our industry. In partnership with IVANS, Applied is investing heavily in a digital superhighway that will finally deliver on the promise of shorter cycles times, lower cost ratios and better customer experiences. Where digital connectivity is lacking, you get broken and costly processes and frustrated users and customers. Where it exists, the sky is the limit for future innovation. Applied is leading the way to bring this lifeblood of innovation to our industry.

Innovating for Tomorrow

Closed systems and business models are a thing of the past. Applied is innovating to meet today’s needs and ready to exceed tomorrow’s innovation. We are excited about all the great things going on at Applied to bring more value to you. I recommend checking out our Opening Up Innovation website for more information on how Applied is innovating for the future and a sneak peek of what to get excited for!

Taylor Rhodes

Taylor Rhodes, Chief Executive Officer, leads Team Applied and is responsible for the company's overall strategy and operational execution. Rhodes joined Applied in 2019 after serving as chief executive officer of SMS Assist, the leading cloud-based software platform for multi-site property management. Previously, he was CEO of Rackspace, where he led the company's growth from a cloud pioneer to an industry leader with more than two billion dollars in revenue, while establishing the company as a mainstay on the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For. Prior to Rackspace, he served as a leader in enterprise, financial and corporate strategy roles at Electronic Data Systems Corporation. Mr. Rhodes is a former United States Marine Corps infantry officer and holds a MBA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He serves on the board of directors for Applied, Zenoss and Liquid Web, LLC.